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EP: 44 – A Conversation with Dr Marcia Reynolds

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marcia reynolds

Discount link to Marcia’s coaching course:

Dr. Marcia Reynolds is a Master Certified Coach; she helps coaches and leaders make every conversation a difference-making experience. She has provided coaching and training in 41 countries and is on faculty for coaching schools in China, Russia, and The Philippines. Marcia was the 5th International Coaching Federation (ICF) President and only recently she was inducted into ICF’s Circle of Distinction for her contributions to the global coaching community.

Marcia is also the author of several bestselling books including Outsmart Your Brain, Wonder Woman and the Discomfort Zone. Her latest book Coach the person not the problem, a guide to reflective enquiry, is the subject for this podcast.

Show Notes

Podcast episode summary:  This episode focuses on the art of coaching and in particular the critical importance of reflective enquiry as part of the Coaching process. Dr. Marcia Reynolds shared her reasoning for writing another book on coaching.  Marcia felt it was important to impart her 25 years of coaching experience to share what is often missing in the coaching conversation and  to remind coaches and leaders how to help people think & think differently for change. Marcia is passionate about the value of Coaching and notwithstanding her enormous contribution to the field already she has decided to launch a 6 month program called Breakthrough Coaching in partnership with WBECS .It will commence in October 2020.


Points made through the episode:

  • Marcia was a self-confessed obsessive. She was obsessed about understanding what it took to get at real behavioural change.
  • Her quest saw her work to source those answers and combined to inform her choice to pursue a Doctorate.
  • She explains the difference between telling and asking and what it does to our brain
  • Curiously Feedback, although well intended has the affect similar to that of a person holding a gun to your head. The stress is that great.
  • Most people do in fact know what they want, they simply do not do the reflection required to understand their thinking.
  • We live in stories; we are meaning making machines. It is important to be able to see our stories and the frames that hold our identity, including beliefs and assumptions that are often flawed.
  • As coaches we have grown to misunderstand the coaching competencies. Coaching Competency 2, getting at the coaching agreement is confused with solving problems.
  • We are missing the art of reflection and we focus too much on the beautiful or powerful question.
  • By way of her own research Marcia discovered the work of John Dewey in 1910. It explained the power of reflection
  • “When you deprive a client from feeling you stunt their growth”
  • Curiosity, Care and Courage form the important trilogy to get at whole person coaching
  • Marcia wrote her new book; Coach the Person not the problem to dispel some myths about good coaching and to help coaches erase some bad habits, she has seen in the profession
  • Being a coach is more about the being than the doing. Coaches need to appreciate the value of being wholly present to a client to notice the energic dynamic between two people or more.
  • She implores coaches to get out of their own heads-“overthinking is the enemy of the coach” “just be with your client”
  • In addition to her book she is about to Launch a new program in Partnership with WBECS called Breakthrough Coaching. A program designed for experienced coaches to genuinely upgrade their coaching to have a real impact with clients.
  • Marcia shared an example of using Breakthrough coaching with one of her clients who was concerned about having a difficult conversation. She helped her client see what was really going on and what was presenting as the topic was really about personal responsibility.
  • Covid-19 has amplified how we are experiencing emotions. We need to be able to self -regulate. She shares a lovely vignette with her own coach that demonstrates the power of reflection.
  • Marcia shared some practical tips for Leaders of tips as we parted the conversation. She reminded leaders that “People want your presence more than they want your perfection” She shared that her book is also for Leaders; it is a real manual for helping leaders help others think about their thinking.
  • As a parting thought Marcia reminded us that change is not just a conceptual construct. It is real phenomenon. It means we have to be comfortable with “not knowing” we don’t know anything for certain right now and that is OK.


Resources: the following include the resources we alluded to over the course of our conversation

  3. Reynolds.M;Coach the Person, Not the Problem: A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry,
  4. Outsmart Your Brain; The Discomfort Zone; and Wander Woman all by Dr. Reynolds.M.

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